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By Marlon Bute

(See questions an opportunity to win at the end of this episode)

Bougainville, a small hamlet north of Stouffville, where they lived, was known to be like that; full of tales. The folks who saw themselves as enlightened avoided it. Bougainville’s rural character, its backwater ways and the stories that were whispered about it, didn’t appeal much to them. Most of the town’s 5000 inhabitants   believed in legends and dark tales.

And, it was indeed true, as passersby or campers would swear that shrill noises could be heard on any given night. And, some did tell, of a particularly eerie one, on an especially frosty evening. But, it had been dismissed. With incessantly strong winds; howling frantically, as if possessed; and Bougainville’s abundance of abandoned buildings; it was explainable, they reasoned, that wind piercing through a narrow space, would make such blood curling sounds.

No one thought about it either, when days after, news broke that a young woman had vanished.

So the story continues. And, like I said in the beginning, it is not a fairy tale.

Some folks are like Seetha and Ramnarine. They have all sorts of plans. It’s always about falling in love, marriage, babies and wealth. Few persons consider much else. Sometimes, there are the lucky ones who fall in love once, marry once, and have children who give them grandchildren. This is not to say that there is never a fight or a disagreement over a matter, but they find a way to resolve the issue in a peaceful way and never spend a fretful night sleeping apart or caught up in a war of words.

Then there is the more complicated relationships which may have neither love nor hate but which, as we have already begun to appreciate, turn out to be challenging for husband and wife, as in the case of poor Ramnarine. That is, of course, for those who feel sorry for Seetha’s husband. Some might admire Seetha’s determination and see her focus on self, not as selfish, uncaring or vain, but as purposeful. Seetha did tell us from the start what her plans were. The problem is that Seetha didn’t tell Ramnarine her plans, and it’s quite probable that Ramnarine didn’t tell her his plans. He loved the land, he knew how to work it well and he had been one of the top farmers in rural Trinidad before he left it all. Well, Seetha helped him to leave farming to head to Toronto.

Ramanarine doesn’t know that. He doesn’t know that the woman who he loved dearly had a lover who she made poison his animals and crops.

Ramnarine was lying on his back, a toothpick hanging loosely from the corner of his mouth, looking at the ceiling. The lines on his forehead were becoming more defined by the minute and his temples were pulsating furiously as if they wanted to explode. Ramnarine was trying to figure where he had gone wrong. He felt that it might have been something that he had done to cause his life to end up in a situation that he didn’t like or that he wouldn’t have imagined a few years back. He had given up a lot for his wife but he couldn’t think of one thing that she had done for him lately or since they met. Lying there on his bed, staring at the ceiling, at the same spot that had become light brown from water damage, and that looked like it would fall in any minute, a thought was trying to force it’s way into his mind, but Ramanrine, being a man that was by nature, of a kind and positive disposition, was fighting against it.

The kettle on the stove was whistling. The leftover food in the microwave had long been warmed and was returning to its cold state. The door that led to his balcony, that overlooked the 12 lower floors, that overlooked the parking lot, was slightly ajar, and a cool breeze eased through the door, making its way to Ramnarine’s room. It was the wind that took his mind from his farm, from his wife and from his job in the factory. The wind caressed his neck, massaged his temples and caused the lines on Ramnarine’s forehead to relax. The cool breeze touched his eyelids and made them become heavy and close slowly. A bottle of pills fell from the palm of his hands, bounced off the bed, rolled under the night table and landed against the right rear leg of the table. Ramnarine was at peace. The kettle was whistling. Night had fallen.

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  1. Name two animals that were unseen in Bourgainville’s forest.
  2. What was the name of Seetha’s lover and where was he from?
  3. Which city did Seetha like to frequent and did she get home at nights?
  4. What kind of worker was Ramnarine?
  5. For the most part, how did Ramnarine get home after work? Recount one of his journeys home in your own words.

Kindly email answers to [email protected] along with address, telephone number. Winners may be asked to submit photo for publication.

Prizes are redeemable at Jujube Bookstore.